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Notes on "Creating Justice"

sara.gladwin's picture

"Seeking Justice Inside and Outside the Walls"

Go around and ask each person to say their names and one thing that makes them feel powerful… as an example of one of the ways we have opened up a space…

 What does it mean to create justice? 

The specificity of the word “create” … Who creates the space?

We associate creation with artistic processes -- making work vs. doing work

Creating justice across a variety of spaces-- We’re not coming in and just bringing in higher education (reifying power dynamics) but also constantly asking the question; what do these women have to teach us as individuals and as a community? What can we learn about alternative classroom spaces? About innovation in education? How might this learning redefining what it means to do/make academic work?

 Developing personal relationships in the classroom can be academically productive-- recognizing (not restoring because it was never lost to begin with) humanity more fully- reminds you that each individual is worthy of access to education-- critical for this context, but also for Bryn Mawr… educational practices must be driven by and dedicated to practicing compassion-- differs from justice driven by retribution…

 “The complexities of personhood”

(Making this work has really been an act of survival for me… it has taught me to think creatively when making my own work… taught me to have compassion for myself)

Creating is not so much about making something new. Reminds me about one of our woman who sewed her name on her shirt by taking thread from her sheet and whittling a bobby pin to make a needle-- being creative with what you have...

 To make/ produce/ cause something to come into being… like baking- to make something “new” is not possible without pre-existing ingredients. So part of “creating” is inherently a collaborative process… Deep collaboration, unlike working on an assignment or group project for a grade… We are simultaneously called to bring our respective strengths to the table and to be attentive to the strengths of others…. It calls for mutual respect and compassion. It calls for us not only to think together, but to feel together. As we find ourselves working to create spaces for justice inside the walls, we also find ourselves organically creating “critical friendships” as well… experiencing these friendships has profoundly transformed what it means to learn for me… and I cite this as one of our alternatives to the competitive driven model of education… something here about deconstructing power hierarchies….


Redefining Justice so that is driven not by retribution but by compassion.